Grant Thornton loses FTSE 250 Pantheon audit

Private equity investment trust parts ways with mid-tier audit firm after three decades following appointment of EY as new auditor from 2020

Grant Thornton has lost the audit mandate of FTSE 250 private equity investment trust Pantheon International following a tender process that saw EY appointed to carry out the £55,000 audit from 2020.

Grant Thornton has been the auditor of Pantheon International since its inception in 1987. In its recently published annual report, the company said: ‘In accordance with the regulations for the length of auditor tenure, in the first half of 2019, the [audit] committee carried out an external audit tender process. Four firms were invited to tender.

‘Following a transparent and competitive tender, including written submissions, presentations and discussions with two candidate firms, the audit committee recommended to the board that Ernst & Young LLP, whose audit team had extensive experience in auditing investment trusts, be appointed to replace Grant Thornton as the independent external auditor of the company.’

The annual report revealed that Grant Thornton had been paid £55,000 for the annual audit, down from £64,000 the previous year. It was also paid £27,000 in non-audit fees together with £9,000 for audit-related work.

The tender process was led by outgoing audit committee chair Ian Barby, who will be standing down following the transition to the new audit firm. His replacement is David Melvin, a chartered accountant.

The news comes after Grant Thornton resigned as auditor for embattled FTSE 250 retailer Sports Direct. Two years ago, Grant Thornton announced that it would no longer tender for new FTSE 350 audits as a result of the uneven playing field it faced when competing against the Big Four audit firms.

By Philip Smith

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